Laser drilling is a successful manufacturing solution for many industries due to it advantages over conventional drilling techniques. Advantages include non-contact processing, low heat input into the material, flexibility to drill a wide range of materials, accuracy and consistency. Other benefits include drilling sub micron holes and small holes with large aspect ratios and drilling at angles.
The common techniques used in drilling are percussion hole drilling and trepanning. Percussion drilling is a process where multiple pulses are applied per hole to achieve the desired results. High speed on-the-fly drilling is a percussion type drilling process often used in drilling filter and guide vanes. Trepanning is a process by cutting large holes or contouring shaped holes. The advantages of trepanning include large holes, consistency and ability to drill shaped holes. Trepanning also reduces the holes taper.
Fiber lasers can be focused to spot sizes as small as 10 – 20 microns. The high peak power coupled with short pulse widths, a perfect Gaussian beam of the single mode and Q-switch fiber laser offer very good drilling capabilities in thin sheets, ceramics and silicon. The optics configuration is changed to achieve a different spot size, required for drilling various hole diameters. High power fiber lasers are also currently used for rock drilling applications and for oil and gas exploration industries. The high peak and energy /pulse are also used for drilling thick metals.
- Drilling of flow filters and strainers
- Sub micron drilling in flexography ceramic rolls
- High speed drilling of guide vanes
- Hole drilling of silicon
- Drilling diamonds for removing imperfections
- On-the-fly-cooling holes
- Rock drilling
Oil and gas exploration
Typical lasers for this application include:
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